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Shopkeepers claim parking rules at Earlham House Shopping Centre are hitting their trade

PUBLISHED: 08:09 01 June 2016 | UPDATED: 08:09 01 June 2016

Earlham House traders hold a demonstration about the parking management of their car park, which they say is driving customers away.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Earlham House traders hold a demonstration about the parking management of their car park, which they say is driving customers away. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

ARCHANT NORFOLK

Angry shopkeepers claim parking enforcement at their Norwich shopping centre is driving trade away.

Earlham House traders hold a demonstration about the parking management of their car park, which they say is driving customers away.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYEarlham House traders hold a demonstration about the parking management of their car park, which they say is driving customers away. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Traders at Earlham House Shopping Centre staged a demonstration over the way private contractor National Parking Enforcement (NPE) handles contraventions of rules in the centre’s car park.

NPE is contracted by centre owners Bellgold Properties to enforce the centre’s car park, off Earlham Road. It uses CCTV to spot violations.

But traders say they and their customers are falling foul of the enforcement, which they claim is too extreme.

One trader revealed he has paid fines for customers to stop them turning their backs on his business. Zhi Wang, owner of Royal Plaza Restaurant said: “I have paid some of my customers’ parking fees, otherwise they said they would never come back.”

Earlham House traders hold a demonstration about the parking management of their car park, which they say is driving customers away.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYEarlham House traders hold a demonstration about the parking management of their car park, which they say is driving customers away. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Richard Bray, owner of RJ Bray Butchers, said: “My footfall has been affected by around 25pc since NPE took on parking enforcement. I am very unhappy about it.”

A spokesman for NPE said: “What the shopkeepers at Earlham House are perhaps not grasping is that without providing the successful control and management of this parking area, it would simply revert back to being a free 24 hour parking area for local residents, as it was before we managed the site.”

They said less than 0.3pc of the 12,740 vehicles which use the car park each month breached parking terms and conditions - the majority for parking in disabled bays without displaying blue badges.

Denise Carlo, Green city councillor for Nelson ward, has written a letter, signed by traders, calling on the government to tighten up the law on parking companies which manage parking on private land.

She said: “The government promised to bring in reforms but we have seen no sign and in the meantime, local shopping centres such as Earlham House are suffering the consequences”.

Nobody from Bellgold Properties was available to comment.

7 comments

  • NPE give people who DO display their blue badges very clearly parking fines. They claim you didn't display your badge and use pictures from on angle which is impossible to see the badge on the dashboard. This happens quite alot and in my opinion, is a scam to get money out of naive disabled carpark users. I am a bit upset that this wasn't mentioned in the article.

    Report this comment

    Lisa Gibbs

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

  • Don,t pat any enforcement fees they are only an invoice not a fine. They give up in the end

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

  • How can anyone form an opinion on this matter without knowing how long you are allowed to park there for!? The story doesn't include the most fundamental point - what the restrictions are. Assuming it's 15 minutes then I could see why there's a problem. But if it's an hour I fail to see why that's not adequate for popping to the co-op and then picking up a takeaway. Ultimately if this car park was made free then the company are right - it would have cars dumped in there all day long - many leaving cars there and walking into the city. This isn't the most inviting shopping area in Norwich - it doesn't lend itself to parking there and spending anything more than a short period of time. In my opinion a fairly quick turnover of cars and shoppers can only be a good thing from a footfall perspective. But it's guess work without knowing how long you're allowed to stay there for.

    Report this comment

    Suffolkpunch

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

  • Free car parks can be too easily abused. I regularly visit one where there are several cars which seem to be there all the time: it is clearly being used by local residents who don't have parking space on their own property. Sometimes cars sit in a free car park with For Sale notices on them. It is perfectly reasonable that there should be a time restriction on parking in commercial centres: even Motorway services do that. I believe that on this site the limit is 2 hours - which should be quite sufficient for shopping, or even for a meal in a restaurant. If, as they say, most tickets are for misuse of disabled spaces, I would even applaud this company - that is far too common, and deserves more than just a parking ticket.

    Report this comment

    Wymspen

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

  • Parking scam companies are successful due to human greed. Typically people like Bellgold Properties will receive 55% of the "charge."

    Report this comment

    blackcab

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

  • Well,yet another place on the "avoid at all costs" list for shopping! Very sad because there are some excellent businesses there, and since Norwich city council have decided to turn Norwich into a car free wasteland, out of town shopping should be thriving! The whole business of cameras, tickets, big brother watching you, and the DVLA giving out your details to all and sundry is easily enough incentive to avoid shopping there at all!

    Report this comment

    Harry Rabinowitz

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

  • What nobody tells us is what the parking rules are? Lets be honest if you can park for free for say 60 mins whats the problem?

    Report this comment

    Carol Barnes

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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